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Gladiator The Truth behind the movie. Did Maximus Really Exist?  No, but he represents the faction of Rome at this time that upheld a sense of obligation.

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Presentation on theme: "Gladiator The Truth behind the movie. Did Maximus Really Exist?  No, but he represents the faction of Rome at this time that upheld a sense of obligation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gladiator The Truth behind the movie

2 Did Maximus Really Exist?  No, but he represents the faction of Rome at this time that upheld a sense of obligation to the state and respect for duty and virtue

3 Marcus Aurelius  Marcus Aurelius was emperor from 161 to 180 BC  A stoic philosopher  Did fight along the Roman frontier  Wrote “The Meditations”

4 Commodus  Stranger than the character in the movie  Died in a training “accident”, not fighting as a gladiator  Historians agree that he might have killed his father  Called himself the new Romulus, declared a new Golden Age

5 Lucilla  Her husband, Lucius Verus, was co-consul with Marcus Aurelius  First time in Roman history that the Roman Emperor had the formal appearance of two joint emperors  Lucilla was banished to Capri after plotting to assassinate Commodus. He had her executed

6 The Political Reality of the Film  There was at this time some political sentiment towards restoring more rights to the Senate and the people of Rome. This is represented in the characters of Senator Gracchus and Maximus, both of whom are fictional but capture the sentiment of the political culture of the times.

7 What do Classicists think of the film?  Kathleen Coleman, the Harvard classicist who was the consultant to Gladiator was not entirely pleased with the final result.  It is always helpful if you regard a film like this as memorializing the spirit of the times rather than representing history  This is fiction inspired by historical events

8 Any Mistakes in the Film?  Romans did not use stirrups, but the actors had to, to reduce the danger while filming riding scenes  There were no tractors in the Roman world, but tractor trails appear in Maximus’s wheat fields  There is a big debate over the “Thumbs Up/Down” usage  In reality, “Thumbs Up” probably meant “Kill the gladiator!” and “Thumbs Down” meant “Put down your weapon.”

9 Other Errors  Women were not allowed at that time to attend gladiatorial events  Horses were never used to carry slaves  The Romans did not have German shepherds as dogs at that time  Colosseum is correct size on the inside, but twice as big on the outside.  In reality, the Romans lost, not won the battle against Germania that is shown in the opening scene.

10 The Life of the Gladiator  Was the fighting as lawless as the movie portrays it to be?  No, in fact the movie portrays the crowd as desperate for blood and the gladiators as desperate to survive  But the reality was quite different, as this would not have been a profitable business if the fights were staged the way they were in the film

11 Marcus Aurelius and the Gladiator  The events drained the treasury, hence Marcus Aurelius reduced the frequency of the games  Commodus, however, did fight as a gladiator but his opponents always let him win since he was emperor (Herodian)

12 The Significance of the Games at this time  At this time, the gladiatorial combat was considered a religious events, that were morally appropriate for young children to watch  Games promoted honor, bravery and fearlessness in the face of death  This type of entertainment was considered intellectual, therefore, as opposed to going to other entertainments

13 New Research on Gladiatorial Games Reveals  At this time, referees were posted in the arena to make sure of a fair fight. Unbeatable odds would not have been a good show for the crowd  Food and healthcare was provided; if you develop a layer of fat over muscle, you stand a better chance of sustaining minor cut wounds  Training camps were closed – gladiators spent three years there training and could not leave, but that did not stop women, even ones from good families, from sneaking into the camps

14 Gladitorial Games, Part II  Games can best be compared to today’s modern boxing matches  Well organized, short fights with refs  Weapon selection and pairing of partners very carefully monitored  Main difference between this sport and modern boxing is that sometimes the gladiators were fighting for their lives.

15 Other Bizarre Behaviors of Commodus  Put snakes in the bread baskets that were used to hand food out to people at the gladiatorial games  Renamed Rome “Colonia Commodiana”  Renamed the months of the year after himself  Renamed the Senate Commodian Fortunate Senate  Claimed to be descended from Hercules  Wore lion’s skin and carried a club like the god  Forced Senators to watch him cut the heads off of ostriches  His 12 –year rule was called “a greater curse to the Romans than any pestilence or crime” by one Roman historian.

16 Conclusion  Although this is a fictional story, and many details from history are changed in order to make the story suit the Hollywood sensibility, the film still has merit in that it captures the humanity and spirit of that period in Roman history.


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